The city of Red Bank has a goal for every resident to live within a 10-minute walk from a city park. The council was told that two properties have been identified as viable additional parks. Both are areas of vacant property. One of the locations is referred to as the Swope property and the other as the Hixson property. Both are in areas that would help the city meet its goal, said City Manager Martin Granum.
City Attorney Arnold Stulce recommended the plan that will give the city the most time to make a decision, which will be coming to an agreement with the seller, including a price and with the time for the city do its due diligence. He said if the owner is asked to remove the listing from a public sale, they would need to be compensated for keeping it off the market. The three commissioners present agreed it would be a good idea to move forward.
John Alexander told the commissioners that there is the possibility that by doing a special census, Red Bank could benefit by receiving more state shared taxes. A special census is allowed to be done in the years following the U.S. Census Bureau’s population count that takes place every 10 years. Mr. Alexander said it is likely that the population in the city has increased along with the increase of new developments that have been taking place recently.
Red Bank currently receives $166 per person. The city manager recommended for the city’s staff to do the legwork such as sending mailers and going door to door, which would be the least expensive way to perform the count. After the numbers are collected, he said SETD, (Southeast Tennessee Development District) would validate the count. Vice Mayor Stefanie Dalton cautioned that more money should not be spent to do a special census than the city stands to gain in taxes. Mr. Alexander said that the new count could be done up to three times in the 10 years between each U.S. census. If not done, he said that the state tax Red Bank receives would be based on the current data for seven more years, even as the population in the town increases.
The commission authorized an agreement for temporary labor services to help the current public works staff picking up leaves this season. The amount of the contract is up to $18,000 and will provide for four workers. Cleaning up the leaves is not expected to start until late December or early January.
The public works department will be getting two new trailer mounted traffic control signs. This is a budgeted item. It will be paid for with $23,000 that was a gift from the Red Bank Soddy Daisy Charitable Foundation. The remaining $10,000 will come from State Street Aid money.
Eight small municipalities in Hamilton County are co-permittees for the Phase II stormwater program for water quality. To receive the permit for this work, all of the towns participating in the interlocal agreement must approve it in writing. Tuesday night, the commissioners authorized Mayor Hollie Berry to sign the agreement on behalf of Red Bank.
A public hearing at the commission meeting was for developer Steve Pickett’s property at 2622 Berkley Dr. He originally purchased two lots and planned to build two single family houses on them. An adjoining neighbor later offered to sell a strip from his property to the builder. That made the property large enough to create three lots and build three houses. But the original condition that allowed only two houses had to be amended before three buildings could be approved. Prior to approving the amendment, a neighbor asked the city to help stop stormwater runoff that comes from a pipe on the vacant building lot and ends in his yard. He was told that the runoff issues will be addressed in the permitting process. The city is prohibited from doing work on private property, said Attorney Stulce, so it will have to be done by the property owner. Mr. Pickett, the owner and builder, said his plan is to redirect the stormwater to an appropriate location which he expects could help the neighbor’s runoff issues. Three houses were approved for this property.
The council also approved a special exemption permit to allow two additional apartment buildings to be built at 300 W. Midvale Ave. in the Midvale Heights Apartment complex. When the complex was originally built in the 1970’s, the plan was for seven buildings, but just five were built. The apartments have a new owner who is bringing the old buildings up to code and, after getting approval, will be adding two buildings. The city’s planning commission had recommended approving the additional buildings.
This was the last meeting as a Red Bank Commissioner for Ruth Jeno who has been on the commission for three terms including serving as mayor. She said, “My heart is in Red Bank.” Her hope is for the new commissioners to govern for all people, "not for just a select group.” She thanked Attorney Stulce for being the steady one whenever there were problems during the time that she was on the commission. The commissioner said she was proud of accomplishments made during her years in service to the city which include the creation of White Oak Park that used to be a landfill and building a community center where only a pavilion was before. During her tenure, the city was successful in keeping the new middle school inside Red Bank City limits by doing a land swap for what were previously ball fields. She said she wants the use of the old Red Bank Middle School property to be decided by Red Bank residents by putting it on a ballot.
Mayor Berry announced that the Red Bank Lions Club will be holding a food drive from 9 a.m. until noon on Saturday in the parking lot of Food City in Red Bank. The request is to bring non-perishable foods. And on Thursday the Red Bank Community Food Pantry will be held from 4:30-6 p.m.
Vice Mayor Dalton said that Red Bank Elementary is collecting new toys and family games for the Northside Neighborhood Christmas drive. They will be distributed to families and children in Red Bank.
The city will celebrate the small businesses that are located in Red Bank on Nov. 26 which has been declared as Small Business Saturday.
The city’s offices will be closed on Nov. 24 and 25 for Thanksgiving. Mr. Granum told the commissioners that he is now ready to do annual performance reviews for the city employees that report to him. And on this coming Friday, he said it is expected that Hamilton County will certify the Red Bank election. The newly elected commissioners will be sworn in during the next commission meeting on Dec. 6.